School mornings can be busy. One of the best ways to handle them is by sticking to a consistent routine. This will help everyone remember what they need to do to get out the door happy and on time.
School drop-offs and pick-ups
If you get to school well before the bell, you can see that your child is settled before you leave. If your child feels rushed in the morning, it might make it more difficult for them to settle into the school day.
Your child is likely to feel more secure if you’re on time to pick them up after school and you have a regular meeting spot. And if you’re early for pick-up, it gives you a chance to meet other parents, and makes organising playdates easier.
It’s worth checking that your child has everything they need before you leave for school in the morning, and before you come home in the afternoon. This can save on upsets at home and at school when your child can’t find their special pencil box or favourite book.
School uniforms and clothing
Organising your child’s school uniform or clothes the night before school can save a last-minute rush in the morning. It helps to lay out your child’s clothes where your child can see and get to them easily.
You might need to pack alternatives in your child’s bag in case the weather changes – for example, a jumper or jacket. Spare underwear is also a good idea.
Make sure your child has a hat in their bag. Hats are compulsory in most schools for at least the first and last term each year, and all year round in many schools.
Name labels mean your child won’t lose everything they own – only some things!
School lunches and snacks
A healthy lunch and snack meets your child’s energy needs and helps them stay alert during the day. Many schools have healthy eating policies, so it’s a good idea to check your school’s policy.
Water is the healthiest drink for children. A refillable bottle of water is better for your child than fruit juice or cordial.
It’s common for schools to ban foods that cause allergies. It’s important to follow your school’s food allergy rules because being in contact with certain foods can be life threatening for some children.
If your child needs medicine at school, you need to authorise teachers to administer it under strict guidelines.
School safety rules
Your child will need to know where they can play at school and which areas might be out of bounds. Most schools also have rules about wearing shoes, hats and sunscreen, as well as playground behaviour.
Schools often hold special events. These can be highlights of the school year for children. If you can, try to make it to these special events. Your child will appreciate it.
If you can’t go, you could ask another adult in your child’s life to go instead and take some photos. You and your child can look at these photos together and talk about the event.
Communication between school and parents
Good communication between school and home supports your child’s learning and development at school.
You can lay the groundwork for good communication just by saying hello to your child’s teacher and other staff at drop-offs and pick-ups.
You can also contact the teacher if your child has any problems at school or there’s something else important that you need to discuss. In these situations, it’s best to arrange a meeting with the teacher as soon as possible. You’ll need to make a time when you won’t be interrupted by other children or parents.
There are many other formal ways to make contact with the school, including:
- parent-teacher interviews
- information evenings
For general communication and information from the school, it’s a good idea to check your child’s bag for school notes or forms each day. Many schools also have online noticeboards, an intranet, Facebook pages or apps with newsletters and information about events, excursions and other school activities.
Let your school know if your child needs special attention at any time – for example, if there have been problems at home or a death in the family, or your child has been sick. Likewise, if your child has just done well at an activity outside school, let the school know so they can recognise your child’s achievements.
Children with additional needs at school
If your child has additional needs, they might need some extra support when they start going to school. For example, visual supports, social stories, help cards and a school buddy can help them settle into the new school routine.
It’s especially important to talk regularly with your child’s teacher or other school staff to find out how your child’s day went and to see whether they have any questions about your child’s support or educational needs.
You can get more ideas in our articles on children with disability starting school and autistic children starting school.